Jackie-O Motherfucker – Liberation

Style: Free Folk, Mystical Americana, Drone, Free Improvisation, Post-Rock

Vibe: Weary, Hopeful, Rustic, Communal, Spiritual, Ragged, Eerie, Melancholy, Deconstructed, Hypnotic, Communal, Haunting, Raw, Suspenseful, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Dynamic, Lo-Fi, Atmospheric, Droney, Group Vocals, Dub FX

Instrumentation: Electric Guitars, Vibraphone, Flute, Drums, Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Saxophone, Banjo, Melodica, Sitar, Electronics, Turntable, Keyboards, Trumpet, Electric Bass

Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes – Ame debout

Style: Progressive Folk, Avant-Folk

Vibe: Brooding, Visceral, Witchy, Sombre, Forest, Intense, Driving, Passionate, Rebellious

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Progressive, Experimental Vocals

Instrumentation: Organ, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Vocals

Senyawa – Alkisah

Style: Avant-Folk, Tribal Drone-Doom, Southeast Asian Folk Music

Vibe: Ceremonial, Apocalyptic, Aggressive, Hypnotic, Murky, Shadowy, Dark, Tribal

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Acoustic, Fuzzy, Heavy, Loops, Noisy, Repetitive, Droney, Extended Technique, Electroacoustic

Instrumentation: Homemade Bamboo Instruments, Electroacoustic Treatments, Percussion, Throat Singing, Chants

Brigitte Fontaine / Areski / Art Ensemble of Chicago – Comme á la Radio

Style: Chanson, Chamber Jazz, Avant-Folk

Vibe: Serpentine, Nocturnal, Mysterious, Ominous, Storytelling, Suspenseful, Open, Beguiling

Musical Qualities: Spoken Word, Collective Improvisation, Thematic, Percussive

Instrumentation: Duet Vocals, Muted Trumpet, Acoustic Guitar, Bouzouki, Shenai, Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Drums, Upright Bass, Lute

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Beasts in the Garden

Style: Free Folk, Psychedelic Electroacoustic Music, Post-Minimalism

Vibe: Forest, Ritualistic, Visceral, Hypnotic, Mystical

Musical Qualities: Loops, Electro-acoustic, Extended Techniques, Suite, Electro-Acoustic, Repetitive

Instrumentation: Flute, Cello, Saxophone, Keyboards, Vocals

HṚṢṬA – Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes

Style: Ghost Folk, Avant Folk, Post-Rock

Vibe/Moods: Eerie, Murky, Ominous, Nocturnal, Winter, Haunting, Witchy

Musical Qualities: Droney, Lo-Fi, Analogue

Instrumentation: Electric Guitar, Organ, Vocals, Bass, Drums

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part II

Style: Free Folk, Ecstatic Minimalism

Vibe: Ritualistic, Forest, Nocturnal, Haunting, Hallucinatory, Cautious, Exploratory

Musical Qualities: Loops, Repetitive, Dissonance, Drones, Slow, Electro-Acoustic

Instrumentation: Experimental Vocals, Harmonium, Flute, Spiked Fiddle, Banjo, Acoustic & Electric Guitars

Fletcher Tucker – Unlit Trail

Style: Ritual Folk, Drone

Vibe: Ancient, Forest, Meditative, Ritualistic, Intimate, Devotional, Earthy, Nature, Autumnal, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Field Recordings, Drone, Atmospheric, Sparse, Suite

Comus – First Utterance

Style: Avant-Folk, Progressive Folk

Moods: Ominous, Forest, Surreal, Dark, Theatrical, Disturbing, Hallucinatory, Mysterious, Ritualistic, Aggressive, Complex, Shadowy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Percussive, Chamber Arrangements, Technical

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar (6 & 12-Strings), Violin, Viola, Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Electric Bass

Eric Chenaux – Dull Lights

Style: Warped Americana, Free Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Heartfelt, Airy, Raw, Lethargic, Soft, Psychedelic, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Loose, Lyrical, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Vocals, Banjo, Electric Guitar w/ Fx, Lap Steel, Drums

Sand – Golem

Style: Kosmische, Ritualistic Folk, Space Ambient, Psych

Vibe: Primordial, Exploratory, Ancient, Mysterious, Swampy, Ominous, Ritualistic, Desolate, Spacey, Floating, Psychedelic, Eerie

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Droney

Bobby Brown – The Enlightening Beam of Axonda

Style: Experimental Songwriter, Spiritual Folk, Avant-Folk, Outsider Folk

Vibe: Spiritual, Adventure, Alienation, Cathartic, Cryptic, Eccentric, Existential, Loner, Poetic, Psychedelic, Storytelling, Tribal, Tropical, Warm

Musical Qualities: Homemade Instruments, Acoustic, One Man Band, Percussive, Spoken Word, Progressive

Black Forest / Black Sea

Style: Psychedelic Drone-Folk, Free-Folk

Vibe: Forest, Mystical, Nocturnal, Mysterious, Exploratory, Abstract, Spontaneous, Murky

Musical Qualities: Electro-acoustic, Improvisation, Lo-fi, Loops, Drone, Collage, Suite, Atmospheric

Sarah Louise – Earth Bow

Style: Free Folk, Cosmic Appalachia, Ambient Folk, Healing Music

Vibe: hypnotic, amorphous, confident, cosmic, dreamy, earthy, ethereal, existential, exploratory, forest, warm, spiritual, spontaneous, soothing, psychedelic, passionate, nature, meditative, hallucinogenic

Musical Qualities: Suite, Electro-Acoustic, Studio-as-an-instrument, Loops, Home Recording, Progressive, Field Recordings

Gastr Del Sol – Camofleur

Style: Post-Rock, Avant-Rock, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Cryptic, Warm, Cerebral, Spring, Exploratory, Eclectic, Melancholy

Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Progressive Structures, Melodic

David Grubbs – The Coxcomb [Review]

Style: Primitivist Theater, Avant-Folk Minimalism, Drone

Vibe: Pastoral, Alienation, Hypnotic, Abstract

Musical Attributes: Sparse, Theatrical, Repetitive, Minimalist, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Voices, Organ, Cello, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Saxophone

Sam Amidon – The Following Mountain

Style: New Weird Americana, Post-Modern Appalachia, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Autumnal, Earthy, Imaginative, Lush, Morning, Peaceful, Rootsy, Rustic, Warm, Contemplative

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Melodic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation, Progressive, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Fiddle, Drums, Banjo, Vocals, Percussion, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Drum Machine, Percussion, Electric Bass, Organ Synthesizers, Flute

Collaborators: Leo Abrahams, Shahzad Ismaily, Sam Gendel,
Milford Graves, Chris Vatalaro, James Sultan

Gastr Del Sol – 20 Songs Less

Style: Avant-Folk, Experimental, Math-Rock

Vibe: Sporadic, Chaotic, Abstract, Agular, Cerebral

Musical Attributes: Noisy, Glitchy, Collage, Complex, Electro-acoustic, Instrumental, Studio-as-an-instrument

Ka Baird – Sapropelic Picnic

Style: Psychedelic Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Ritual Folk

Vibe: Ritualistic, Hallucinogenic, Hypnotic, Earthy, Primal, Psychedelic, Spiritual

Musical Attributes: Electro-Acoustic, Loops, Minimalistic, Sampling

Instrumentation: Manipulated Vocals, Flute, Synthesizer (Moog), Drum Samples, Vibraphone

Mount Eerie – Sauna

Style: Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Avant-Folk, Drone

Vibe: Winter, Existential, Imaginative, Introspective, Contemplative, Epic, Philosophical, Poetic, Ethereal, Loner, Meditative, Eclectic

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Droney, Lo-Fi, Lyrical, Progressive

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Psychic Oscillations [Review]

Psychedelic electro-acoustics and earthy minimalism from long-running avant-folk group Spires that in the Sunset Rise. The multi-instrumentalist duo of Ka Baird and Taralie Peterson ritualistically loop and layer a hypnotic tapestry of pre-verbal vocalizations, upright bass, flute, saxophone, synth, and autoharp, running each instrument through trippy stereo delays, visually represented by the two minute-apart clocks next to each other on the album cover. While not as witchy or jarring as the their early releases, Psychic Oscillations finds the band as entrancing as ever.

Anna & Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes to Us

The Invisible Comes to Us is a haunting, modern take on Appalachian and Irish folk songs. Beautiful close-harmonies, banjos and acoustic guitars are juxtaposed with droning atmospheres of woodwinds, Moog bass, pump organ, and euphonium. Guest musicians include Jim White on drums and Susan Alcorn on slide guitar.

David Grubbs – Prismrose

Style: Free Folk, American Primitive Guitar, Poly-Free Improvisation, Experimental Rock

Vibe: Contemplative, Pastoral, Loner, Moody, Melancholy, Mellow, Abstract, Eerie

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Complex, Electro-Acoustic

Black Ox Orkestar – Ver Tanzt? Yeah

These impassioned, and often mournful, renditions of klezmer folk songs (both traditional and original) are infused with elements of free jazz, drone, and chamber music to create something both rooted and urgently modern (Even 15 years after its release). The mostly acoustic band features violinist Jessica Moss (also of Silver Mt. Zion) and upright bassist Thierry Amar (asmz, GY!BE) in addition to singer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Levine Gilmore and Clarinetist/Guitarist Gabe Levine.

Exuma – Exuma

Exuma’s first album is a powerful and ritualistic masterpiece of spiritual folk from the Bahamas. Exuma, the Obeah Man, is a master storyteller and preacher, sharing visions, myths, and prayers. His expressive, soulful voice takes on many tones as he delivers his musical sermons, from smooth to raspy, soft to confident. A group of singers, percussionists, whistlers, and toads join him and his acoustic guitar, making me imagine them all circled around a large fire in communal worship and grateful that they let us listeners in on it.

David Grubbs – The Thicket

On experimental musician David Grubb’s first dedicated songwriter outing, he synthesizes technical bluegrass banjo and fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing with imaginative arrangements, abrupt stylistic shifts, philosophical questioning lyrics, improvisation, and drones. Featured musicians include drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), bassist Josh Abrams (Natural Information Society), and drone violinist Tony Conrad.

Eric Chenaux – Slowly Paradise

Eric Chenaux’s gentle falsetto is the most constant, tangible element on an album characterized by a permanent state of flux. The guitars are warbly and unsteady with their fluctuating tones, volume, and pitch. Yet, despite their experimental nature, they never sound abrasive and, together with some mellow Wurlitzer, create a soft, pillowy environment for Chenaux’s romantic crooning about the nature of love, the moon, and warm nights.

Jerusalem in My Heart – If He Dies, If If If If If If

Style: Arabic Folk, Avant-Folk

Vibe: Mourful, Passionate, Political, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities/Instrumentation: Electroacoustic, Buzuk, Vocals, Prepared Guitar, Field Recordings